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Mars Theatre conducting soft opening
Mars Theatre
The Mars Theatre will show movies on Fridays and Saturdays in June. - photo by File photo

SPRINGFIELD -- After being closed since mid-March, the Mars Theatre will test the market with a soft reopen this weekend. 

The theatre, owned by the City of Springfield, is one of the government buildings that have been closed for the pandemic and reopened today. 

“We have been selling curbside concessions each Friday during the month of May and had a lot of people ask when we were reopening for movies,” said Allison Newberry, theatre director. “We don’t think people are going to come running back because of the unknown still out there, but we are going to do our best to make sure the theatre is safe and clean for those that do want to come.”

In June, movies will only be shown on Friday and Saturday nights and tickets will be limited to meet the guidelines set forth by the CDC.

“Theatre staff will be wearing gloves and facemasks and patrons are encouraged to wear facemasks as well…but only after they have finished eating popcorn,” joked Newberry. 

Other precautionary measures in place will be hand sanitizers available to patrons, all door handles and bathroom fixtures being wiped down prior to opening, after the movie starts and after all guests have left and limiting the number of transactions per customer. 

“We’d like to encourage everyone to pre-purchase their tickets prior to arrival. If that isn’t possible, all transactions will be processed at the ticket window, including concessions,” said Newberry. “We feel this will decrease the amount of people in the lobby at any given time. The balcony will also be open to help with social distancing.”

The June schedule begins with the faith-based true story "I Still Believe playing Friday and Saturday. 

“There are not any new movies being released right now, so we are going to show older summer blockbusters,” Newberry said. The original "Jurassic Park" will be shown June 12 and 13, followed by "E.T." playing June 19 and 20 and "Jaws" will take over the big screen June 26 and June 27

Opening June 11, 1993, "Jurassic Park" became the highest grossing film of 1993 and was followed by four more sequels and fifth scheduled to be released in 2021. "E.T.," released on June 11, 1982, was an immediate blockbuster, surpassing "Star Wars" to become the highest-grossing film of all time — a record it held for 11 years until "Jurassic Park," surpassed it in 1993. This year marks the 45th anniversary of "Jaws." Released in 1975, "Jaws" was the highest-grossing film in history until the release of "Star Wars" in 1977.

If everything goes well, the theatre will look to return to its regular schedule of movies each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and most Sunday afternoons in July. Tickets for movies and the remaining live shows for 2020 can be purchased at www.marstheatre.com, Springfield City Hall, theatre box office or by phone at 912-754-1118.